Looking Forward and Back
Well the end of 2002 is at hand and what a year it has been. From an economic standpoint this year has been a tough one. From a technology standpoint it has been an interesting year of new products, growing markets, retrenchments and new opportunities. Here's what I feel were the interesting points for 2002.
Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework
By far this was the most important software development release of 2002. Visual Studio .NET represents one of the most ambitious initiatives at Microsoft. We have been working on some large .NET applications and have found this 1.0 release to be one of the most stable and well though out versions of software ever. Tasks that took hundreds of lines of code are now conveniently available in a very robust framework. I cannot wait to see what Microsoft has in mind for VS.Net next year.
Another new technology to gain critical mass is web services. For those people that know me I am extremely skeptical when it comes to new technologies. When web services became the buzzword I looked at this technology with my usual skepticism. I am now a believer that this is the ONLY way to build web applications. Web services provide a true division between user interface and logic. If you are not using web services in your applications now is the time to do so.
SQL Server is a product that is gaining mindshare and market share by leaps and bounds. SQL Server is a much simpler and less expensive solution than Oracle and other databases. SQL Server is a capable of handling enormous number of users and data.
Microsoft Buys Great Plains
This purchase has not really had a lot of press in developer's magazines. It is my opinion that this is one of the greatest opportunities for Microsoft developers. Great Plains was already a great accounting system and is now a great accounting system owned by a great company. I think the opportunities for integrators are endless when it comes to Microsoft's purchase of Great Plains.
Security Comes to the Fore Front
It seems that security is now on everyone's mind and rightly so. From the airport to the wireless networks, people are becoming more familiar with security and how important it is in our current world. This security consciousness has also spread to the Microsoft world. Microsoft has made security job one with their current and futures software development issues.
My .NET Services
One of the biggest surprises for 2002 was Microsoft's retreat on My .NET services. I was at Tech-Ed in New Orleans when we learned that Microsoft had withdrawn My .NET Services. It is currently unknown what Microsoft has planned for this new technology. From what I know I would expect it to be re-released as a product to be used internally by companies. Don't be surprised if you see this technology surface as a new product.
There has not been a lot of fanfare surrounding this new initiative YET. I am familiar with some of the early initiatives of adding writing capabilities to windows. I remember seeing this technology 10 years ago. It didn't really catch on. Where it did catch on is in the world of PDA's. Now Microsoft is returning to their initial efforts and are delivering a truly compelling reason to turn your laptop into a tablet PC. When more information becomes available we will be discussing it here in the pages of CoDe.
Compact .NET Framework
Microsoft is currently working extending the .NET Framework to the Pocket PC platform. I saw some of the early workings of this at Tech Ed and it looks really cool (and well thought out). This technology is represents yet another great opportunity for developers.
As you can see 2002 was an interesting year of new and improved technologies. I think next year will be equally interesting. I hope this editorial helps you look in some new directions.